I have long been a believer in the sacred manicure law of basecoat + 2 coats color + top oat. I used to rely on a generic clear polish for my base and top coat (which is fine to do!), but I’ve since learned the beauty of using two separate polishes for base and topcoat. Selling separate base and topcoats isn’t just a marketing tactic (for some brands, at least). In fact, the two polishes perform very different functions.
A decent basecoat should have a thin consistency and dry quickly. Ideally, it will protect the nail from being stained while providing a good surface for the nail polish to adhere. It will usually have a more matte finish. (While some basecoats are also meant to condition nails, I’m a little skeptical—even with three-free brands.)
A nice topcoat may have a thicker consistency and should dry with a hard, glossy finish. Some top coats even promise quick-drying time so your nails are dry to the touch after 60 seconds (the polish can still be dinged, though!). This high-shine finish should protect your manicure from chipping for several days.
Previously, I used a base and topcoat by Sally Hansen, but after my bottles ran out (or rather, after the polish got too thick to use), I wanted to try another brand. I loved the products, but Sally Hansen’s cruelty-free stance is a bit unclear. Although Sally Hansen and Coty (its parent company) claim to not test on animals, it appears that Coty does conduct animal testing on products to be sold in China. Complicated, no?
Thus far, I have no complaints about Anchor (base coat). It spread evenly and dried quickly. It’s been about five days since I applied it, and I haven’t experienced any peeling.
I am mostly pleased with Armor (UV block/topcoat). It doesn’t dry as quickly as some topcoats and you have to apply multiple coats to get a shinier finish—and it’s still not as thick and glossy as I’d like. It does, however, appear to do an excellent job of preventing chips and wear, so I’m very pleased in that department.
For best results, Zoya recommends reapplying Anchor every few days to extend the life of your manicure. They also advise only using Anchor with other three-free polishes for best results. Here’s why.
Perhaps more important of all, Amor and Anchor don’t have a strong smell, indicative of the absence of formaldehyde.
What’s your favorite three-free base and topcoat?
Photos: Mary Hood